About me
About me

Bring back chat-show Charlie


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 10 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured.

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might very well have changed in the 10 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Nick Clegg
Photo provided by the Lib Dems
Nick Clegg made a complete prat of himself today, wandering around a huge stage in a quite nauseating way, speaking without a script but most clearly not off-the-cuff, in a pale imitation of something David Cameron might have attempted. He made bad jokes, he attempted audience participation with lacklustre consequences, and the whole thing looked – at best – amateurish.

In short, Nick Clegg is a complete electoral turn off, and takes himself far too seriously to attempt the tactics he tried today.

It’s bizarre, in a way. Clegg is trying to argue that he wants a ‘different kind of politics’, yet is trying to communicate that message through endless hackneyed political stunts carried out badly. A walkout isn’t a walkout if it’s obviously planned, a prompt-free speech isn’t off-the-cuff when it’s over-rehearsed, and conscientiously abstaining doesn’t work under a three-line-whip.

The most successful Liberal Democrat leader was Charles Kennedy, not because he was a great political operator, but because he engaged his own target audience. He pretty much shunned the traditional political ways of Westminster, and engaged in a pretty unique chat-show style that looked different, sounded more civilised, and genuinely engaged an ever-growing section of the population.

Much of David Cameron’s style, such as his attempt at manufacturing a personality, comes from imitation of Kennedy, not of Blair. And yet, just as these tactics are working, the Lib Dems have abandoned them.

Nick Clegg is not a good Party Leader, but he could become one. He clearly needs time to grow into his new role, but there surely must be mutterings within the Party today about quite how long he should be given. Charles Kennedy, returning in a shower of glory having conquered his drink problem, may be exactly what the Lib Dems need right now.

This 1,273rd post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd December 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd November 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th October 2018)

Instant Opinion: Offer ends at midnight (published 17th March 2008)

Love finally dies (published 28th September 2012)

Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (published 12th December 2012)

Tesco: please start doing parcels (published 3rd December 2013)

Comments and responses

Comment from Jonathan Rothwell

by Jonathan Rothwell

Comment posted at 22:06 on 9th March 2008.

I agree about Charles Kennedy: he was the strongest Lib Dem leader to date and would, if it hadn’t been for his drink problem, have probably continued to improve the party’s standing to this day.

Compose a new comment


You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.